Despite the accountants' exemption being phased out in June 2016, Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler said the confusion around what training is required of accountants who apply for the limited licence remains a significant issue.
“With the limited licence, there are a number of different boxes that you can tick. So while a course may claim you can apply for the limited licence, it’s actually only limited licence boxes A and B – so it’s quite misleading out there,” said Ms Bowler.
“The training providers are misleading and the licences are misleading because they say they’re [offering] an accountant’s licence, but what does that mean?”
Ms Bowler also believes ASIC needs to provide further guidance on exactly what training accountants need to undertake to give which type of advice.
“There isn’t one neat in-the-box solution outlining that accountants need to get licensed they need to do this course and then they fill out this one application form – unfortunately, it’s not that simple,” she said.
CPA Australia's policy adviser for financial planning and external positioning, Keddie Waller, added that accountants should be cautious about where they choose to complete their training.
Some training providers offer “very short courses”, Ms Waller warned.
“If you want to run your own licence then you need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to actually run your own licence and give advice under that licence,” she said.
“If you undertake a course that is quick and doesn’t go into any depth, then is it really going to deliver on any of those outcomes?”
She advised accountants to conduct some research prior to beginning a course to ensure it will actually deliver on the things they are looking for.
“[These courses] may be quick, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to deliver on the outcomes you need to make sure you’re able to give appropriate and qualified advice,” Ms Waller said.